IPA Excellence Diploma: Background

The Excellence Diploma is the second in the series of qualifications created by the IPA since 2003.

Following on from the Foundation Certificate, these qualifications are the brainchild of Stephen Woodford's IPA presidency and the centrepiece of his commitment for the industry to raise their professional standards.

The objective of the Excellence Diploma in particular was to equip a new generation (people of all disciplines with around five years' experience) with the key shared theories, learnings and case histories on brands and brand communications. The aim in doing so was to stimulate individuals to develop their own personal vision of how brands are changing.

The programme consisted of six modules of reading on brands and their communication management. At the end of each module, delegates were asked to write a think piece on that area, giving their personal perspective.

And at the end of the year they were asked to submit a final 5,000- to 7,500-word assignment on the future of either brands, brand communications or communications agencies.

These pieces were marked for originality of point of view, presentation and support of argument and application by a distinguished team of experienced judges (pictured).

The following five essays are those that achieved "distinctions" in the eyes of those judges, including the President's Prize for Best Individual Paper.

Congratulations to their authors and all the delegates for their achievements over the year.